Closing the skills gap for frontline workers at major U.S. employers requires a better bridge between what colleges and universities offer and what the workplace requires. Discussions about this gap too often get characterized as simplistic debate. On one side are educators insisting on an impractical ideal of the liberal arts. On the other side are employers pressuring universities to compromise that ideal by providing “mere” workplace skills training.
In fact, employers in multiple surveys have said they are eager to have a workforce with higher order skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, and cognitive flexibility. It’s as if employers and educators can’t hear that sometimes they are talking about the same thing.